TWO Knots in Umbilical Cord! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 11-12-2007, 06:29 PM - Thread Starter
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My DH and I were excited about the upcoming birth of our first child. I am a strong proponent of natural childbirth, and we both attended the full series of Bradley childbirth classes. After much deliberation, we decided to have the baby at a hospital because we live out in the country - would not be able to make the "30 minutes decision to incision" if needed. We also hired a doula - the best decision we made! I agreed to just one prenatal test - the 20 week ultrasound. It showed a "two vessel cord" - just one umbilical artery going to the baby instead of the usual two. According to the doctors, it is associated with a high percentage of birth defects, and only 1% of births have it. Needless to say, it injected a feeling of fear that I didn't want associated with the pregnancy and birth. I worked on my positive visualizations instead.

I was due on May 23rd. On June 2nd at 2 in the afternoon I started with Braxton-Hicks contractions every 8 minutes apart. We were at a Thai restauant, so I didn't say anything and just enjoyed a great meal. I've had BH since about 26 weeks, so I wasn't about to get excited this time. They continued all afternoon and evening, progressing until they were 6 minutes apart.

My DH and I went to bed at 11 pm, and after snuggling a bit he went to sleep. My contractions suddenly kicked into a very different gear - they were much more intense, more crampy than a period. They were also 2 minutes apart! After 20 minutes of relaxation and breathing, I woke DH so he could help me with the relaxation. I was confused - the books never said anything about contractions starting at 2 minutes! Maybe the baby would come fast? We called our doula - she suggested we stay home as long as possible, especially because I wasn't in that intense state yet.

We dealt with the contractions every two minutes lasting almost a minute all night long. DH was incredible - he seemed to know just what I needed; a backrub, talking, rubbing. At 5 am I started losing my confidence - who stays in 2-minute contractions for 6 hours? We called our OB and doula, and on their recommendation we went to the hospital to get checked. I was 90% effaced (hooray!) and 1 cm dilated (Oh! Only 1?). Baby's heartrate was 130. We went home.

I stayed in labor with contractions at 3-4 minutes apart all day. In the morning I soaked in our tub - it was so helpful I fell asleep in it for 1.5 hours! By the late afternoon the intensity changed again, and I was having trouble maintaining the relaxation needed. I started tensing up, having trouble dealing, getting tired, getting scared. We called the doula periodically to update her. My DH was wonderful - encouraging me to eat and drink frequently, using counterpressure on my sacrum. During the contractions my favorite position was standing, leaning my elbows on the counter, swaying my hips back and forth. I was committed to staying home as long as possible, because I believe that is the safest thing for all of us.

At 9 pm, I suddenly wanted to go to the hospital. I can't explain why. I had been in labor for 22 hours at this point, and was getting tired. I wanted the assistance that their Jacuzzi tub would offer. Once we got there, I found out I was 100% effaced, and (only!) 3 cm dilated. An initial electronic fetal monitor in required - it showed no problems, baby's heartrate of 130 again. I requested manual heartrate monitoring every thirty minutes instead of the EFM. I immediately hopped into the Jacuzzi - what a huge help! It really took the edge off my tension and allowed me to work through each contraction.

When the nurse came in for the first manual check, he found the baby's heartrate to be in the upper 50's. Immediately I was removed from the tub, the EFM was put back on. It confirmed the heartrate. My OB tried me in different positions - hands and knees, sidelying, etc. They couldn't get the baby to increase it's heartrate. My OB said, "There is something wrong with your baby, and I don't know what it is. I recommend an immediate C-section." I was so confused! Here I am having a natural birth, no drugs, and in the space of 5 minutes I'm facing an operation! I didn't want to undergo a needless operation, but a baby with the heartrate of 60 is scary. So, we agreed.

When they pulled Ryan out, he was hollering at the top of his lungs, pink, with Apgars of 9 and 9. There was a ripple of exclamations - "Two! I've never heard of two!" Apparently there were TWO knots in his umbilical cord which had tightened, cutting down on the blood that he was getting. He is fine, as perfect as can be! Only one person in the OR had ever seen two knots in a cord before. Has anyone on this forum heard of two knots? Just curious.

Ryan nursed in the recovery room 20 minutes later. He was alert, poking around licking and sucking. About 2 hours later we were trying to get some rest. It was so strange - all of a sudden we were a family, not just a couple. My DH was asleep in our queen-sized hospital bed, and Ryan was nestled in the crook of my arm.

Because of a physical cause of the two knots as well as the two-vessel cord, I believe that the C-section was necessary. Somehow, perhaps the universe knew that, and maybe that is why I didn't dilate more in the 24 hours, and why I suddenly insisted we go to the hospital. I am very thankful that we had a natural labor up to the point that he was in trouble. I believe that the lack of medications until the moment of the C-section was why he was so alert at birth. Although I totally expected to have a natural birth, and am disappointed a little, I have a perfect little boy!

Now, for the next child, I need to find a supportive VBAC team! Thank you for taking the time to read our story!


: DS - June '07 : DS2 - May '09 : (may be delayed a really long time!)
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#2 of 9 Old 11-12-2007, 09:18 PM
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Nice birth story. Even though you had to have an unexpected c-section, obviously the baby needed it, so DON'T be disappointed. You'll have your vaginal birth next time. Congratulations, mama! Welcome, Ryan! Happy nursing and babymooning.:

Perpetually exhausted single mother by choice to one little girl (2/06)
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#3 of 9 Old 11-13-2007, 05:47 AM
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I'm SO glad things ended up OK for you. A friend of mine had a stillbirth at 40+ weeks because she had a two vessel cord. I asked the doctor about it (as I was about to give birth in a couple of weeks), and the doctor said when the cord was like that it made it more likely that the cord would twist and knot.

Kudos to you for listening to your body and congratulations on your new little one!
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#4 of 9 Old 11-13-2007, 03:37 PM
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Excellent job of listening to your body by knowing when to go to the hospital. Although it wasn't the birth you visualized beforehand, what is even more important is a healthy baby at the end of it! Congratulations!
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#5 of 9 Old 11-13-2007, 08:13 PM
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I'm sorry you didn't get the birth you wanted , but I'm glad your baby is here, safe and healthy. Congratulations!

Mama to M (7/05) and S (5/08) my surprise !!!
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#6 of 9 Old 11-13-2007, 08:18 PM
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My daughter also had a 2-vessel cord so I know just how scary it can be. We also discovered it at the big 20-week ultrasound. I'm glad Ryan is here, safe and happy in your arms. Congratulations!

Normal is just a setting on your dryer.
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#7 of 9 Old 11-15-2007, 05:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks, everyone for your support! Ryan is now five and a half months old, and is such a joy! I didn't really understand how attached I'd feel to another human. It's nice to hear about others who dealt with the two vessel cord situation. It carries some real risks, and some people, like miamira's friend, unfortunately end up on the wrong side of the statistics. Has anyone even heard of two knots, though? I'm trying to find out how often this happens, and haven't found any mention of this in these forums or elsewhere.

: DS - June '07 : DS2 - May '09 : (may be delayed a really long time!)
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#8 of 9 Old 11-16-2007, 12:01 AM
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That was an amazing birth story! It is wonderful you listened to your instinct. About the double knot. During my midwifery appreticship. We attended an undiagnosed set of twins. They where mono and shared both sacks. After the birth it was discovered they where knotted together in two places plus and individual knot in one cord and a double in the other. It was a miraculous birth to say the least. I believe what saved them is their cord where incredibly long if I remember right nearly 3 feet each. They did have to be transfered due to breathing difficulties but where otherwise just fine. I think a double knot to be very rare thing indeed.

Mom to 6 with #7 on the way Sept 2014
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#9 of 9 Old 11-29-2007, 12:48 AM
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Our baby girl was born with two knots in the umbilical cord. This concerned us for some time. She is one year old now, and seems fine compared to our other three. We took a picture of the umbilical cord because it is so rare.
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